When What Matters co-hosted a Twitter Chat with Betterworks CMO Luanne Tierney (@LDTierney), she shared great advice about OKRs for Marketing Teams. Betterworks is an agile OKR platform that allows you to align your entire organization in one place.

Here’s what Luanne had to say, as well as some of our favorite responses from the community.


@LDTierney: Bringing quality and quantity together in your OKRs can be difficult, but it makes for a strong objective! I would use something like:

  1. Ramp up posting by 2x
  2. Increase daily audience interactions by 20%
  3. Identify 3 brands to cross-promote with a quarter

@lshufro: Thx, Luanne! People often ask us why a “vague” Objective works better - why save metrics for the KRs? What’s your take?

@LDTierney: sometimes the sum of KRs contribute to a overall objective and it’s better to be kept broad for example, “build buzz for the betterworks brand” is a broad, but grow SOV number is specific and contributes to the broad goal

@lshufro: love this point about the “Sum of KRs” – we think the secret sauce of OKRs is exactly this - the relationship between Os and a SET of KRs. Thx!

@Betterworks: Ditto! Great way to bring KPIs into an overall goal that can be difficult to define

@asktannia: This is a tough Q! I guess I’d first need to know if I were measuring engagement, reach, followers, conversions. If I had to make one up, it would be “increase engagement by 25%” or even “go viral 1x per quarter.”

@WhatMattersOKRs: @LDTierney Any thoughts on changing cadence, Objectives (or KPI) when a social media strategy isn’t working as expected?

@LDTierney: anytime a KPI is missed it’s valuable to pause, reflect and see if you need to change tactics.

__@hirebookcom: __

  1. Post 3 times per day/channel
  2. Increase followers by 30%
  3. Get 100 retweets/day

@WhatMattersOKRS: Love the 100RT per day metric - we see that as a moonshot of sorts. Aim high, challenge yourself, but keep the goal realistic.

Note: MQLS=Monthly Qualified Lead

@LDTierney: OKRs work as a compass that guides you to your results. In marketing, there are a lot of objectives to consider: followers, MQLs, RSVPS, etc. By writing dedicated OKRs for each of these objectives, you can map the KPIs that will lead you to your goal

@Betterworks: Setting targets and building dedicated OKRs around them is exactly what OKRs are for!

@WhatMattersOKRs: We love this because it also speaks to something that makes OKRs so powerful - committing to a calendar. When the quarter (or whatever your cadence is) is up, take time to reflect and grade goals and outcomes.

@asktannia: I struggle with turning qualified leads into buyers, tbh. I’d love some advice here @LDTierney

@LDTierney: this is the constant struggle with marketing leads, it’s all about personalizing and nurturing and having the patience to get them through the funnel. good luck!

@Mahany: Two thoughts on this. Typically I would question ‘qualified’, however if truly qualified, good for you for tracking to know that. Then it’s a sales process issue :).


@LDTierney: At @betterworks, we provide full transparency into the marketing team’s OKRs in order for the company to be aligned on pipeline initiatives. Knowing what’s on deck for marketing means sales, product, executives, etc. can all be aware of new initiatives.

@Mahany: It is absolutely critical. Really dislike the often repeated quote that ‘I know half of my marketing budget is working and half is useless but don’t know which half’. OKRs and tracking can overcome that kind of thinking.

@WhatMattersOKRs: Excellent point. This reminds us of a quote from @levie of Box: “30 percent of the people at Box are working on the wrong thing. The challenge is to figure out which 30 percent.”

@lshufro: love this point! we get pushback on people being afraid to be transparent and share the 1/2 that’s not working. Advice on, as you say, partnering? Can OKRs help a team to like sharing instead of bury “bad news?”

@Mahany: My experience with clients indicates two things are critical here: OKRs should come from broader discussions and not just silos in orgs (eg marketing team). Believe me, I know how hard doing that is! Whether the org truly practices psychological safety.

@Betterworks: Transparency throughout the entire organization is vital. Especially with marketing! We like to be aligned on every team’s OKRs from top to bottom.

@lshufro: So true. Expressing an “O” that is fundamental to everyone in the org is the apex of alignment. Well worth the time – to listen, not just talk. TY


@LDTierney: OKRs should be ambitious, which means sometimes you’re going to miss. And other times you’re going to REALLY miss. For us, a missed OKR is an opportunity to learn. The KPIs can help pin down what might have happened and open a conversation for finding solutions. I would rather have a big goal than be too conservative. Take a risk, fail, modify and move forward.

@WhatMattersOKRs: Pause. Review. Analyze. Reflect. The beauty of a missed OKR is that it’s an opportunity to learn and to avoid repeating the same actions.

@Mahany: Depends on what caused the miss :). Truly analyzing without looking for blame or excuses and adjusting accordingly.

@lshufro: this is a life lesson, not just an OKR one! Yes, high-performers often fall prey to perfectionism. but I’ve found that the greatest leaders, artists and athletes spend more time adjusting than self-blaming. The sooner you see it the sooner you can fix it.

@asktannia: I think for me, it’s what went wrong? And mostly “am I measuring the right thing?”

@realgailthomas: OKRs powered by CFRs enable trying a new approach with better information.

Final Take from the What Matters Team:

OKRs work best as a compass that guides you to your results over a period of time. Expect that sometimes you are going to miss your benchmarks and that’s alright.

For social media marketing it’s tempting to put measurements in your Objectives. We advise that you focus on putting measurements in the Key Results instead If you do have metrics in Objectives, keep them broad. The sum of the Key Results will lead to achieving the Objectives.

But if the marketing strategy isn’t working as planned, then it’s time to pause and reflect. Are you measuring the right things? Transparency around the goals leads to better progress as a team.
-Soni from the What Matters team

We’d like to thank Luanne for sharing her wisdom with us, as well as everyone who contributed their insights to the conversation. Join the movement @WhatMattersOKRS and tune in for our next Twitter chat!